Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy

Receiving the news that you're pregnant when this wasn't in your plans can be devastating. Therefore, we'll share some guidelines that can help you cope with an unplanned pregnancy.
Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Finding out you’re pregnant when it wasn’t in your plans can be truly overwhelming. Suddenly, the world comes to a standstill and all your future plans are put on hold in light of this news. An unplanned pregnancy is a really delicate and momentous matter because, whatever decision you make, your life will change significantly.

Therefore, you should try to remain calm and carefully weigh the alternatives. For no reason should you make a hasty choice or allow yourself to become prey to fear or external pressure. Ultimately, it’s you who’ll experience the consequences of this decision, whatever they may be. And, therefore, the right and responsibility to decide belong to you.

The reality of an unplanned pregnancy

We tend to think that unplanned pregnancies are typical of adolescents, caused by a lack of information or precaution. However, the realities are diverse. It can happen to young or adult women, those who are single, or those in a committed relationship. Even those who use the most protective measures can find themselves in this situation.

Each case will be completely different, as the impact will depend on the woman’s personal and financial situation. However, there are some guidelines that can help to shed some light and mark a path to follow in the face of initial confusion and anguish.

Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy

How to deal with an unplanned pregnancy

1. Don’t avoid the situation

Some women, out of fear of facing reality, tend to postpone taking the relevant tests to corroborate the pregnancy. They try to convince themselves that it’s stress or some kind of hormonal disorder. Therefore, they let the weeks go by, unaware that this is a valuable and necessary time for reflection.

It’s understandable that fear paralyzes us at first, but we must find the courage to discover what’s happening. If you’re not really pregnant, then you’ll save yourself a time of anguish and uncertainty. And, if you are, you can begin to assimilate the news. Keep in mind that sooner rather than later you’ll have to make a decision. So don’t let fear rob you of that valuable time.

2. Define your position regarding pregnancy

This point is really important because an unplanned pregnancy won’t mean the same for a woman who’d preferred to wait a few years as for one who doesn’t wish to have children at any time. Try to clearly identify your stance on motherhood.

Would you like to be a mother some day? Is it one of your life goals even if the timing isn’t right, or is it something you don’t want?

3. Weigh the alternatives

Go to health professionals and associations that can offer you reliable and truthful information. In some cases, depending on how far along the pregnancy is, it’s possible and legal to have an abortion. There’s also the option of placing the child up for adoption. Or, ultimately, you may decide to keep your baby and start a family.

Coping with an Unplanned Pregnancy

But you have to take into account the physical, psychological, and economic consequences of each alternative. An abortion can have significant emotional consequences. But giving your child up for adoption, or even keeping it without wanting to be a mother, aren’t easy scenarios either.

Therefore, it’s essential that the decision be thoughtful, conscious, and, above all, yours. Each person you ask will have their own personal and moral opinion. And it’s good to ask for advice and lean on your loved ones in such a delicate situation.

Just don’t forget that the final decision must be based solely on your own feelings. Think about how each of the options will affect you in the long run and decide for yourself.

4. Your life doesn’t end; it’s just the beginning of a new stage.

If you finally decide to go ahead and have your baby, try to adopt a positive and proactive attitude. There’s no point, once the decision has been made, to get stuck in sadness and frustration.

Don’t torment yourself with catastrophic thoughts: You’ll still be able to study, pursue your career, maintain your friendships, and enjoy your leisure time. Your life isn’t over; this is just the beginning of a new stage.

Try to stay healthy physically and emotionally, as your baby will experience your emotions as well. At this point, try to fully enjoy your pregnancy and the life of your little one. The adventure isn’t over, but now there’s someone who’ll accompany you along the way.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.